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Health insurance in the United States - Statistics & Facts

Health insurance remains a relevant and politicized topic in the United States. The number of people with health insurance in the U.S. was close to 300 million in 2019, about 92 percent of the population. The health system in the country is a mix of both public and private insurers, but private is the main form of health insurance coverage among the U.S. population. In 2019, around half of the people with health insurance received private insurance through their employer, while 34 percent were covered under the public insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid. Because the U.S. does not have universal health insurance coverage, millions of people remain uninsured every year. Public opinion on a Medicare-for-all health plan remains divided, but there is marginally more support for a single-payer system.

Private health insurance in the United States

The percentage of the U.S. population covered by private health insurance has remained steady since 2015. Under employer-sponsored private coverage, both the employer and the employee usually contribute to premiums or the amount to be paid each month. In 2020, the average annual deductible for employer-sponsored health insurance was 1,644 U.S. dollars. A deductible is the amount an individual pays for health care services before the insurance company starts to pay. Employers usually purchase health plans for employees from private health insurance companies. The largest health insurance companies in the United States by revenue are UnitedHealthcare Group, Anthem, and Aetna.

The role of Medicare and Medicaid

The main public health insurance programs in the United States are Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare provides health insurance for the elderly and those with disabilities, while Medicaid focuses on providing coverage for low-income families. The percentage of people covered by Medicare in the U.S. increased for the sixth consecutive year in 2019. In the same year, around 17 percent of the U.S. population received health insurance through Medicaid. Enrollment in both programs has grown over the last decade, with around 75 million people enrolled in Medicaid in 2019. As enrollment has grown, so has spending, with total Medicaid expenditure reaching almost 640 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. Total Medicare spending increased by 236 billion U.S. dollars between 2015 and 2019. Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other public insurance plans, are funded through federal taxes. Other public health insurance plans include the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), which provides health coverage to children through Medicaid as well as separate programs, and military insurance programs such as the Veterans Health Administration.

How many Americans do not have health insurance?

The percentage of people without health insurance in the U.S. was 9.4 percent in 2020, which translates to around 30.4 million people. The share of Americans without health insurance dropped following the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. In recent years, however, the uninsured rate has risen again after the repeal of the individual mandate that required most citizens to have health insurance. The states with the highest share of people without health insurance are Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. In Texas, 18.4 percent of the population did not have health insurance in 2019, which was twice the national average.


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